With their power to wield Blood and their uncanny ability to stay alive, Blood Death Knights are the paragon of the self-healing tank in World of Warcraft. This makes them a very popular pick amongst the role. That’s why we’ve created a guide on how to partake in the unique fun that the class brings.
Death Knights are the original hero class in World of Warcraft. Released during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion back in 2008, the class, all its specs, and the overall allure were an instant fan-favorite.
Although the only class, alongside Demon Hunters, who only have two roles, with their one Tank and two DPS, they are still the go-to for many tank players.
With their relentless self-healing and almost unparalleled Magic mitigation, Blood Death Knights are the kings of tanking in Dungeons. That’s why we’ve put a guide together on how you can wear that crown yourself.
The class was originally created for the Horde’s first Warchief, Orgrim Doomhammer, by Gul’Dan as powerful soldiers. They were made by placing souls of fallen Shadow Council warlocks into the corpses of fallen Stormwind knights and were insidious necromancers who possessed tremendous magical power and loved to terrorized their enemies by way of reviving their battle mates as mindless undead minions.
Once the Lich King came into the picture, the idea of the Death Knight changed. No longer were they evil mages who loved to torment their foes, they were now battle-hardened, rune-wielding warriors of the Scourge who utilized the powers of Blood, Unholy, and Frost Magic.
Blood Death Knights can be traced back to the origin of the Death Knight itself as the main form of magic they utilized was Blood.
They are incredibly powerful in a Dungeon setting as they have an uncanny ability to self-heal, contain a wide array of cooldowns. On top of that, they have a strong amount of utility with their combat ress, 90% snare, and short-duration immunity to magic debuffs.
As opposed to Demon Hunters who are stuck on two races, one for Horde and one for Alliance, any race can be a Death Knight. This makes the decision to choose the best race a bit difficult but we’ve narrowed it out to a handful between both of the factions.
- Blood Elf
Staying on track with the classes’ favorability in Dungeons, Blood Death Knights benefit the most from the Blood Elf race on the Horde side. Their Arcane Torrent Racial ability is just too good to pass up in Dungeon settings as having the ability to get 20 Runic Power on command every two minutes and remove one beneficial effect from all enemies within eight yards is great for staying alive.
On the Orc side of things, the race is overall strong in all of the faction. Their Blood Fury, which is an increase of Attack Power by 52 for 15, is a nice little damage boost every two minutes but the main thing to look at would be their Orc’s Racial Passive, Hardiness, which reduces the effect of stuns by 20%, which is a nice little bonus. When in a scenario that requires you to quickly grab aggro but has enemies that stun, it’s a great boon.
- Night Elf
On the Dwarf’s side, their Stoneform is a great way to remove any debuff which can be crucial for any situation that revolves around taking damage as a tank. This is great for not just Dungeons but for Raids as well.
As for Night Elves, their Shadowmeld is a great way to break out of combat and reset a Dungeon situation. It’s not similar as a Blood Elf Arcane Torrent or a Dwarf’s Stoneform but it’s a great free get out of jail card.
As you progress through your WoW journey, you’ll quickly start acquiring new talents. In Blood Death Knight’s case, the talent path you’d be choosing can differ depending on the situation.
This is what we’ve found to be the best talent path:
|Heartbreaker||15||Heart Strike generates 2 additional Runic Power per target hit|
|Hemostasis||25||Each enemy hit by Blood boil increases teh damage and healing done by your next Death Strike by 8%, stacking up to 5 times.|
|Blood Tap||30||Consume the essence around you to generate 1 Rune.
Recharge time reduced by 2 sec whenever a Bone Shield charge is consumed.
|Will of the Necropolis||35||Damage taken below 30% Health is reduced by 30%|
|Grip of the Dead||40||Death and Decay reduces the movement speed of enemies within its area by 90%, decaying by 10% every sec.
Defile: Defile reduces the movement speed of enemies within its area by 90%, decaying by 10% every sec.
|Voracious||45||Death Strike’s healing is incrased by 20% and grants you 15% Leech for 8 sec.|
|Red Thirst||50||Reduces the cooldown on Vampiric Blood by 1.5 sec per 10 Runic Power spent.|
Blood Death Knights have a variety of talents they can swap out depending on the situation, these would mainly be for levels 15, 30, 40, 45, and 50.
To start off, Heartbreaker can be swapped to Blooddrinker if looking for an extra on-demand form to heal. Then, Blood Tap can be swapped for Relish in Blood if looking for a more passive way to gain Runic Power. Past that, if looking for a different type of utility, Grip of the Dead can be swapped for Tightening Grasp, or if looking to add movement to an otherwise slow class, you can go for Wraith Walk.
Voracious can be swapped for Bloodworms if looking to do a bit more damage and a sort of safety net below 50% health and lastly, Red Thirst can be swapped for Purgatory if looking to make sure you don’t instantly die when taking too much damage. Alternatively, if wanting to do more AoE damage while reducing damage taken, Bonestorm can be picked.
As you keep progressing as a Blood Death Knight you’ll inevitably get stronger. Part of this comes from the gear you acquire along the way.
When it comes to Blood Death Knights, the stats you’d be focusing on would be Strength above all else as it’s your main stat, then from there, you’d be looking for Versatility, Haste, Critical Strike, and Mastery.
For Blood Death Knight, Strength does a bit of everything. It increases your damage, the armor bonus granted by Bone Shield, it increases your chance at parrying attacks and due to the high amount of leech abilities you possess, it provides a minor increase to self-healing. It’s too good to pass up.
When it comes to Versatility, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Having the ability to increase all of your damage and healing done while reducing all damage taken. Like Strength, it’s too good to pass up.
After that, Haste is another strong secondary stat. As a reactive tank, you’d want to Death Strike before your healer can get a heal off on you. Not only that, but it also increases your attack speed and your rune regeneration and makes the specialization feel less clunky overall.
Then for the last two, Critical Strike for tanks increases their ability to Parry which is a nice plus while Mastery although seemingly strong, it’s not as worth compared to all of the other stats mentioned above.
Shadowlands release signified the joining of the Covenant system, the expansion’s power. Each class is forced to select one out of the game’s four different choices with each giving their own benefits and abilities.
For Blood Death Knights, you’d be looking to join the Kyrian Covenant with Necrolord as an okay second option.
- Kyrian Blood Death Knight ability: Shackle the Unworthy – Admonish your target for their past transgressions, reducing the damage they deal to you by 8% and dealing (186.578% of Attack Power) Arcane damage over 14 sec. While Shackle the Unworthy is active on an enemy, your direct-damage attacks that spend runes have a 100% chance to spread Shackle the Unworthy to a nearby enemy.
- Necrolord Blood Death Knight ability: Abomination Limb – Sprout an additional limb, dealing (23.67% of Attack Power) Shadow Damage over 12 sec to all nearby enemies. Deals reduced damage beyond 5 targets. Every 1 sec, an enemy is pulled to your location if they are further than 8 yds from you. The same enemy can only be pulled once every 4 sec. Gain 3 Bone Shield charges instantly, and again every 6 sec.
The Kyrian Covenant is the go-to choice for Blood Death Knight as not only is its ability immensely strong for Dungeons but the fact that you get Summon Steward, which brings you three potions that restore 20% health and remove all Curse, Disease, Poison, and Bleed effects, is just too good to pass up.
Necrolord does have its uses though, as with Abomination Limb not only are you dealing strong amounts of AoE damage and gaining Bone Shield Stacks but its ability to keep targets in place with what a Blood Death Knight already brings is great for keeping mobs stacked up. Additionally, its Fleshcraft is just a great bonus on the defensive side.
That’s our Blood Death Knight guide! If you’re looking for a unique perspective on tanks, then this is for you.
For more tips and tricks to help you in the rest of your WoW career, check out our other class pages: